In an attempt to empower women and prove they can do everything a man does, women activists have only created more problems for women in Lahore.
I saw some pictures shared on the Facebook page of an English newspaper yesterday, in which they had shown women driving Pink Rickshaws in Lahore.
The caption with those pictures was this:
Driven by female representatives from local social groups and charities, the bright pink, covered three-wheeled motorcycles zipped through the city in a bid to highlight the challenges faced by Pakistani women.
There is no doubt that women in Pakistan face a lot of challenges. Life is difficult for them. Issues that are mainly highlighted include inequality, domestic abuse, and dependency upon men for her food, clothing, etc., among others. Now I will not go into the detail of each “issue” but I want to highlight an important trend that is slowly eating away our society:
More and more women want to become men and in doing so are disturbing the harmony and balance in their personal lives.
If you also saw the pictures of those women driving Rickshaws, you would see that those were mainly women from seemingly very good background. That is understandable because they are activists and were only “highlighting the challenges faced by Pakistani women.” But are they really? Is this how they will empower women?
Sadly this way of thinking has been borrowed from the Western Culture by many of those from the elite and upper middle class of Pakistan. They believe that empowering a woman means that she needs to do everything a man has to do. They forget that she is physically not able to do what a man does. They forget that majority of families in Pakistan are not comfortable with their women driving Rickshaws. They forget that she is vulnerable to work related abuse by wolves disguised as innocent sheep. They ignore that most of Pakistan is Muslim and Islam does not require a woman to work. But these activists think that until a woman does not earn the same as a man does, she is not fully independent. They think that until a woman does not do whatever work a man does, she is not being treated with justice.
Many women are even uncomfortable with the idea of earning for themselves. They want to live as housewives, raise kids, take care of their family. So what is the difference between these activists and the women who are oppressed in Pakistan? Some are physically oppressed and not given their rights, and some are ideologically oppressed and think we must follow everything a Western Women is doing in order to be “empowered” and “liberated.”
Now all this does not at all mean that women should not work. In fact, women are greatly needed in different places of the society so that they can play a role in developing it. We need women as doctors, teachers, and every other profession which is suited for her by keeping in view all her qualities.
We need to understand that men and women are different in nature. This was also recorded in the Quran as being said by the mother of Maryam AS when she brought her into this world.
وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالْأُنثَىٰ
And the male is not like the female.
She was expecting a boy but Allah gave her a daughter instead and we all know her status so I won’t go into the detail of that.
One of the qualities of Maryam AS though was her modesty. We find in the Quran how she was shy of men and got scared when the 2 angels came to her. But the idea of empowerment of women today is totally opposite to this. Today, the more bold a woman is in front of men the more empowered she is. Today, the more skin she shows the lesser oppressed she is. But is this really a step towards advancement? Not really, because the Quran only calls this ignorance.
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ
And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance.
Khadija RadiAllahu Anha was a successful business women, but did she do the jobs of men to be successful? Did she come in front of men without Pardah to feel liberated?
We need to keep our identity as Muslims alive and not be so impressed by the Western culture that we blindly follow them in whatever they do. The havoc wreaked by such “empowerment” in their society is apparent enough.
May Allah guide us all and improve our condition. Ameen.